Library is Established
Efforts to establish a library in Manson began in 1906, but it took until 1910 before the residents of Manson had an actual library. The first library was started by the Manson Federated Women's Club, whose members contributed their dues to fund the library and volunteered as librarians. It was housed in a room in the High School.
In 1928 a new library association was organized to make the library into a community institution. Members' dues were used to purchase new books. The Women's Club continued to actively support the library and was a leader in the campaign for the construction of a new town hall with quarters for the library.
In 1949 a bond issue was passed and the construction began. At this time the library was made a public library, supported by a tax levy. In the early 50's the nearby townships began paying the city for use of its library facilities.
In 1976 the Manson City Council passed a new ordinance to establish a Public Library and to provide for the appointment, powers and duties of a Board of Library Trustees; as it followed the chance to Home Rule. In the spring of 1976 the library was relocated to a building on Main Street with the help of high school students, the city council, the library's board members and the librarians. This new facility gave the library much needed room.
Library Destroyed by Tornado
The tornado that devastated Manson in 1979. On June 28, 1979, the library was destroyed by a tornado that devastated much of the community. Most of the library's collection was either damaged or destroyed. Anything that could be salvaged was boxed and stored. In 1981 The Manson City Council decided on a municipal building project that would house the city offices, the police department and the public library. So the Manson Public Library has come full circle as it once again shares space with the city hall.
Library is Modernized
The library world has changed considerably since 1949 when it first shared its facilities with the city, and especially since it was first established. In 1910 it opened with a few donated books. Today it has a collection in the thousands that includes books, magazines, audiotapes, videotapes and computer software. Many books are available in more that one format, including large print and books-on-tape. Even in 1982, when the new library was built, technology was not a consideration. Now it plays a major role. All of library's computers are networked with access to various computer programs, the Internet and the library's automation system.
To keep up with the changing times, the Manson Public Library has grown in many ways. The library has always had an important role in the community of Manson and the surrounding area. That will never change.